Biden, Xi Restore Military Ties Despite 'dictator' Comment
Sumaira FH Published November 16, 2023 | 10:40 AM
Woodside, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Nov, 2023) US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to restore military communications at their first summit in a year Wednesday, even as Biden went off script by saying he still considered Xi a "dictator."
The leaders shook hands and strolled in a garden at a historic California estate during four-hour talks aimed at preventing growing tensions between the world's largest economies from spiraling into conflict.
But Xi and Biden remained far apart on the wider flashpoint of Taiwan, with the Chinese president telling his US counterpart to stop arming the island and saying that reunification was "unstoppable."
But Biden told a press conference at the Filoli estate in California that his talks with Xi, whom he has known since 2011, were "some of the most constructive and productive discussions we've had."
- 'He's a dictator' -
"He and I agreed that each one of us could pick up the phone, call directly and we'll be heard immediately," Biden said.
The separate move to restore high-level US-China military-to-military communications, which China severed after then US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in 2022, was "critically important" to avoid possible conflicts, he added.
But a day of painstakingly choreographed diplomacy ended with a not-so-diplomatic remark as Biden walked offstage after his press conference.
Diplomats had spent months trying to get the talks to happen, and then arranging the smallest details at the exclusive estate, which featured in the US television soap opera "Dynasty" in the 1980s.
The carefully cultivated symbolism saw red carpet handshakes, delegations sitting on either side of a huge table, and culminating with Biden and Xi taking the air in the grounds.
They also shared a working lunch of herbed ricotta ravioli and tarragon chicken with gold rice pilaf.
- 'Stop arming Taiwan' -
Xi and Biden waved at reporters during their garden walk, and Biden had raised two thumbs up when asked how the talks went.
The Chinese leader had earlier warned that "turning their back on each other was not an option," and said that "Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed."
But after the talks Xi too had tough words for Biden, particularly on the subject of Taiwan.
"China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable."
With the summit over, Biden and Xi's choice of engagements showed where their priorities for "responsible competition" lie.
Xi, whose country is struggling to shore up post-Covid growth, was meanwhile hosting a dinner with US executives.